U.S. Department of State 93/02/24 News Conference with Israeli Prime Minister Office of the Spokesman Excerpts from opening statements at a joint news conference by Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Israeli Prime Minister Rabin Jerusalem February 24, 1993 Prime Minister Rabin: The Secretary of State of the United States, his colleagues, ladies and gentlemen of the media. We more than appreciate the decision of President Clinton and the Secretary of State to have the first visit of the Secretary of State after President Clinton took the office of the President of the United States to come to the Middle East with the purpose to bring about the resumption of the peace negotiations. I believe that the visit of the Secretary of State, the discussions, the talks that were held now in Israel, no doubt will serve as a landmark in the relationship between our two countries, in the efforts to invigorate the peace negotiations and to bring their resumption. I believe that during the visit of the Secretary of State here in Israel, I had the opportunity and the pleasure to have talks, deep to the issues, and I hope that . . . we succeeded to establish special relations--relations of friendship, understanding, and [candor]. I believe that in the talks that were held here, we discussed a variety of issues: first and foremost, what has to be done to bring about the resumption of the peace negotiations, how to make sure that once they will be resumed, they lead in 1993 to results--results that I believe all the peoples, all the countries of this region expect them to achieve. It is to say to have a breakthrough that will lead to peace between Israel and its neighboring countries and the Palestinians. I hope and I believe that the visit of the Secretary of State, not only to Israel but also to the other capitals of the Arab countries that are directly involved in the peace negotiations . . . will create a new atmosphere in the region, an atmosphere that will be conducive to bring about more meaningful peace negotiations. We have discussed at length the special relations between the United States and Israel, and there's no doubt in my mind that these relations will be developed and strengthened in the interest of the two countries. And no doubt, this development will bring about and will facilitate many things that we, together, try to achieve in this region. Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your patience, your readiness to listen, to travel, to see. I believe that we put on you quite a burden of work during the two days that you stay[ed] in Israel. Allow me through you to send my thanks and congratulation to President Clinton about his decision to give such a high priority to solve the difficulties that prevent[ed] until now the achievement of the peace negotiations. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Secretary Christopher: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for those very warm words. I've just concluded the last of my meetings here in Jerusalem, and let me say I've tremendously enjoyed my stay here. The detailed discussions that I've had with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and their colleagues were serious and productive and very helpful to me. I've had three separate meetings with the Prime Minister, and he and his wife were gracious enough to host me and my delegation last night for dinner. And all in all, it was a splendid time for me. Over these last 3 days, we have strengthened and deepened the special relationship between our two nations. On a personal note, as the Prime Minister so generously said, I am pleased that we've developed a close and personal relationship. I know that President Clinton is looking forward to greeting Prime Minister Rabin in Washington in the very near future and looking forward to that development of a similar relationship. The relationship that the Prime Minister and I have established is symbolic of the friendship between our two nations--a friendship that's based upon deep and enduring interest, shared values, and common interests. My stay here was all too short, but it did give me an opportunity to learn just a little bit about the rich history of this ancient land and to feel a sense of the dynamism of the modern, vibrant democracy. In my visit to Yad Vashem, I was reminded again of the extraordinary uniqueness of the Jewish state. And this morning in my visit to northern Israel, I was again reminded that the Jewish state continues to face very substantial security challenges. It's high time for Israel to be able to enjoy the acceptance of its neighbors in the security that comes from having a just and lasting peace. I know that the people of Israel yearn for that day, and I know that the Israeli Government is doing all that [it] can to achieve it. After visiting with the leaders of the significant parties to the negotiations, I have a very real sense that all the parties want the negotiations to succeed. They want them to resume and succeed at an early date, and they agree that they should redouble their efforts to that end. I've also had in the last 2 days serious and thoughtful discussions with the Palestinians. The Palestinian representatives with whom I spoke emphasized their commitment to seek peace with Israel, and they expressed their understanding of the stake that they have in seeking that peace. I leave the Middle East hopeful but cognizant that there still are obstacles--obstacles that will have to be overcome. But I sense among all the parties that they want to seek and make peace. If that translates into an early resumption of the peace talks, as I hope it will, the United States stands ready to be a full partner. Before I left Washington, I said that I was coming to the region to learn, to find the facts, to get to know the leaders in this area. I have accomplished far more in that sense than I'd expected, and I've had substantive discussions far deeper than I'd anticipated. This is a region that has known too much war and too much violence in its past. The parties are at a historic crossroad. This is an opportunity which I hope all the parties will embrace, and we'll do our part to help them in that regard. Thank you very much.